Driving in Nairobi is a test of will and one of many causes of high blood pressure

Driving in Nairobi is a test of will and one of many causes of high blood pressure

Driving in Nairobi is a test of will and one of many causes of high blood pressure.

The only cities in Africa that have worse traffic and worse driving are Accra and Cairo.


Then there are pedestrians, the ones who walk so slowly on the road that you almost hit them (not to mention bikes and mkokotenis).

The ones who hurl insults at you as you drive by.

And, if you are very unlucky, the ones who take out their version of road rage on you – like the unfortunate chap whose car was burnt to a crisp on Mbagathi Way.

This driver apparently hit someone who was crossing the road.

Unfortunately, the person died.

Never mind that this man was not using the footbridge, and was thus breaking the law.

The passers-by mobilized themselves and trashed his car, burning it to a shell. I hope he had insurance.

To avoid incidents like that, it is very important to make sure your brakes are working and that you are driving moderately slowly.

He must have leapt out of his car and fled – they may have turned on him next. What else can one do in such a situation, really? Because reason will most definitely not work.

If the police had gotten there on time, maybe he would have been safe, but you never know if they are going to help or hurt you anymore.

The other option, of course, is to take a matatu, but that also comes with its fair share of stress. I am not sure if it is the lesser evil.

Not having control over how or where the matatu is driven can be a lot more tiresome than being stuck in traffic yourself.


While we are still on the traffic, are those automated lights really helping anyone?

Half the time they are not working.

When they are working, there is a police officer monitoring the flow of traffic, so they are rendered useless. Besides, are you really going to be a sitting duck at a red light, waiting for the seconds to tick by in the middle of the night?

As if motorists flagrantly blinding each other at night with full lights were not bad enough, there are cameras at these junctions. Are these cameras actually working?

I do not know of anyone who has been called to court after one of these cameras captured them flouting the law.

Yet, for four seconds after you pass the cameras, you can’t see because the ‘flash’ is so bright. This seems infinitely more dangerous – if you can’t see other cars, you are more likely to hit them, no?

Maybe it’s time to buy a bicycle. Or, put a flag on my car and skip the entire hullabaloo…


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Magari Poa